Parenting so often means teaching. It's a big part of the job description & accounts for much of the parent's time and energy... Especially when the kids are young. But I'm finding as a parent that there are certain things I don't know how to teach. For example...
How to tie shoes.
I know how to tie shoes. I even double knot so well that the other parental unit in this family is unable to untie said knots. But when it comes to teaching my not-quite-7 year old daughter how to do it... Sigh... I'm at a loss. I vaguely remember a story about a bunny and a tree but mostly I forget how I learned... Good thing I have marvelous family members that put me wise to a YouTube clip. My current plan of attack (& i literally mean plan) is to sit her down in front of YouTube with her gym shoes and let her go wild... We have managed to teach her not to click on videos without our consent.
How to get dressed the right way.
I'm not talking about pants before shoes here (although that discussion has taken place in this house)... I'm talking about repeatedly finding my children wearing shirts, pants, dresses, hoodies, underwear... on backwards & their Velcro shoes are constantly on the wrong feet. We've explained that the tags go in the back... We've illustrated how zippers and buttons work more efficiently when worn in the front... We've shown them how shoes are supposed to form little circles when they're next to each other. And yet Mic still appears out of his room with a polo-style shirt on backwards, collar popped so it tickles his chin & jeans looking like they're walking backwards... Kriss Kross would be proud. I feel that this is some sort of payback for the temper tantrum I threw as a 4 or 5 year old who could NOT understand what my mom meant by "the buckles go on the outside of your foot". Obviously... The bones and blood are on the inside of my foot...
How to jump in a Johnny Jump Up
Get a Johnny Jump, they said. Your bouncing baby boy will love it, they said. It'll keep him entertained for hours and help burn off energy, they said. What no one has yet to say is how to get said bouncing baby boy to actually jump in the Johnny Jump Up. He bounces when holding our fingers.... He bounces in his non-bouncy exersaucer... But put him in the thing created for bouncing & he goes boneless. Jumping in front of him doesn't work. Moving the Jump Up up & down pretending he's jumping doesn't work. Getting in the Johnny Jump Up myself & demonstrating doesn't work... But at least he has a silly "why did you put me in here" grin on his face while he's swinging ever so slightly side to side :)
How to shower themselves.
If you've ever read any of my past blogs you've probably gathered that bathing children isn't my most favorite task. My pretend-hippie value system could be partially to blame for why my kids seem so poor at learning how to shower. I actually thought that the loofahs and body wash they got for Christmas had nailed down the body cleaning task & I only had shampooing to conquer... Until the weather suddenly became warm & they entered the shower black as coal miners, threw bubbles around while clean water poured down on them for 5 minutes & I found them just as cruddy as they began... Maybe I should just learn how to put hair in dreadlocks & buy some hemp necklaces... After all I know some super sweet hippies...
Not to pull on the feeding tube.
Never should Theo's ability to grab an object that he wants be questioned. As soon as the Mic-Key tube is attached to his button for his night feeding he is all over that thing! It's his favorite teething toy, pull string, foot lasso and bracelet. He has removed it completely one time & regularly pulls hard enough to make everyone squeamish. Don't worry, though... If he is momentarily distracted enough to leave it alone Maverick is ready to crawl right on over & yank his feeding tube for him. He's a helpful brother like that.
How to pray.
My kids pray. The privilege of going before the Almighty God and telling Him what's on our minds, hearts & days is too amazing to reserve for crisis moments alone. We pray before school, we pray at meals, we pray when feelings are hurt or afraid or attitudes are wrong, we pray at bed, we try to pray after a meal to thank God for providing full bellies yet again... But I fear that my kids are becoming automatic pray-ers. I want them to know that prayer is so much more than just repeating certain words at certain times. I want them to see & experience the fact that God has graciously decided to listen to our small voices & actually allow us to partner with His Spirit to change things through prayer. I long for them to see how gigantic & perfect our God is & therefore grasp how amazing it is that we are allowed in His presence thru prayer. I want their first responses to joy & sadness & anger & temptation & fear & confusion & pain & worry... to be seeking out the ear of The Lord. But I am not able to teach them how to do that... So I will continue to live out my prayer life in front of them and over them and trust that the Holy Spirit will instruct them where I cannot.
... And if you ever see my kids looking clean with tied shoes on the correct feet then you too can know that prayers are answered...